A financial death by a thousand cuts
FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan’s Budget is designed in such a way that it won’t have any immediate earth-shattering effect on your income, but it will slowly slice away at your bank balance in lots of ways, some more obvious than others.
The message from the Government is we’re all in this together, a policy seemingly embodied by the 1 per cent levy on all incomes up to ¤100,000, which will drag thousands of low-paid workers back into the tax net.
For people on the minimum wage every cent (or per cent) matters. Certainly it does when you factor in the many other new ways that our pockets will be hit in the coming year.
The big talking point has been the decision to do away with automatic medical cards for all citizens over the age of 70, for which eligibility will now be means tested. Even the old and the sick were not spared. A&E charges are up too.
Job seekers benefit is up to ¤204.30 per week, but Social and Family Affairs Minister Mary Hanafin has simultaneously announced a range of measures to stamp out a ‘dependency culture’ among young people.
Good thing we’re not depending on the Government to stimulate the economy... and speaking of the future, our children will now do their learning in the biggest classes in Europe in underfunded schools.
As per usual, alcohol, cigarettes, petrol and car tax were hit. Time for some clean living. Give up the fags and the drink and take advantage of the new grant that will help you buy a bicycle to take you to work.
Of course if you’ve had enough recession and depression and decide to flee the country they’ll give you a kick on the way out courtesy of the new airport levy.
Minister Brian Lenihan.